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Raymond Steylaerts (77): a phenomenon has gone

Posted by on January 7, 2011

Raymond Steylaerts (77): a phenomenon has gone

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Raymond Steylaerts was so famous in Belgium that he got his own stamp.

The world of billiards has lost one of the greatest players of all time. The Belgian Raymond Steylaerts deceased at the age of 77. In his long career, the Antwerp player collected many titles in artistic billiards. He is the record holder with six world titles, fourteen European titles and 26 Belgian titles.

Raymond Steylaerts also was a respectable three-cushion player, in which disciplin he won three Belgian titles. He had the misfortune that he met René Vingerhoedt, his teacher, on his way as his biggest opponent and later he had to compete Raymond Ceulemans, the best billiard player ever.

The list of titles of Raymond Steylaerts however is huge. His first European title in artistic he won in 1954 in Madrid, his first world title in 1970 in La Plata before Carlos Tosi. Then there was a short period in which his fellow countryman Leo Corin won three world titles, but Steylaerts dominated again from 1979 with gold medals in The Hague, Maubeuge, Heeswijk-Dinter, Acapulco and Mönchengladbach.

The European gold rush is even more impressive. There was an almonst unbroken period of titles from 1954, that began in Madrid, followed by Paris, Madrid, Saarbrücken, Madrid, San Sebastian, Murcia, St. Vincent, Dortmund, Amersfoort, Brussels, St. Maur, Sant Boi de Llobregat and Linz.

As a three-cushion player Steylaerts was a global subtopper. He was second in the World championship of 1964 in Ostend, where Raymond Ceulemans won. At the European championships in 1957 in Antwerp he was third (René Vingerhoedt won gold), in Brussels in 1963 third behind Ceulemans and Scherz and in Copenhagen in 1964 third, also behind Ceulemans and Scherz. In Vienna 1981 he took the second place behind Raymond Ceulemans.

The death of Raymond Steylaerts was announced early this morning. He died suddenly in his appartmen in Middelkerke. The funeral is on Thursday in Middelkerke.


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